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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

McLaren's Disco Inferno!

McLaren at the Geneva motor show 2015
McLaren P1 GTR in yellow

The styling and visual language of all McLaren cars is inspired by Formula 1 racing innovations and advanced aerodynamics. Shrink- wrapping the bodywork over the car's mechanical skeleton, for example, reduces volume, removes weight and helps improve the car's aerodynamic performance. It also creates an optimised visual design; lean, potent and beautiful to look at. It is directly comparable with a fashion couture house. Chanel is a great example of this in the way that it works, regularly launching new collections and developing them with the utmost perfection.

Is McLaren like a fashion house?

McLaren very much uses the design and work ethics of major fashion houses like Chanel does. You could also compare them to a very skilled tailor or seamstress, in that you create a dress or a suit by following a pattern, and you keep working on this pattern or method until you get it absolutely perfect. McLaren also offers their cars in various lines and categories, just as a fashion couture house does, that can be tailored to suit the customer's taste, style and requirements, for example: Sport Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series.

New arrivals

At the Geneva Motor this year, the McLaren P1 GTR production car, which made a full-filling journey from design concept to the track, was finally unveiled. I was very anxious to see the final version in real life, because in our last article "The new generation" from last year, we had already introduced the main upcoming features and details of this particular concept. Another premiere was the brand new and limited edition version of the McLaren 675LT, a beautiful new addition to the Super Sport Series. 

Watching the show

On the first press day, after attending the Pininfarina show early in the morning at 8.00 AM, I passed by the McLaren stand, and was very pleasantly surprised to see that the McLaren P1 GTR had a very different paintwork design than the concept car had previously.

It was illuminated with various colour shades and the car looked very fashionable in dark orange with a little wisp and blend of purple, and sitting directly behind I spotted a McLaren 650S. The McLaren stand was the only one at the motor show with a platform of around 2-3 metres high, so that the cars are sitting as if they were on a podium, which is always perfect to take great photos from different perspectives. Later at the premiere, around lunchtime, I recognized that the livery was now green and yellow!
The launch of the McLaren P1 GTR and the McLaren 675LT was an excellent presentation; it reminded me of the scenery in the disco fever era, but without the mirrored disco ball. The glossy white floor reflected the rotating spotlights above the stand in the shades of blue, purble, orange and other colours. I perched myself on the left side of the stage, on the front row.
The P1 GTR was right in front of me and the wrapped up McLaren 675LT on the right hand side, so it was a bit difficult to watch two cars at the same time. On one of the big screens above they played a short film teaser of the McLaren P1 GTR, which showed two yellow and green cars racing on track. So it demonstrated inspiration for the more sporting livery of this "racing beast" in homage to the yellow and green McLaren F1 GTR, chassis #06R, which was built for Mach One Racing (Harrods Racing) in 1995 that succeeded and won many times in various races like the BPR Global Series Championships and the 4 Hours of Le Mans. 

Small changes to the McLaren P1 GTR design concept 

The front track is 80mm wider than the road going McLaren P1; also the car sits 50 mm lower to the ground.
The lightweight windscreen from the McLaren P1 has been retained, while the side windows are now motorsport specification polycarbonate with a "ticket window" on the driver's side. The glass panels in the roof have been replaced with carbon fibre panels to give the cabin a more enclosed feeling and to save weight. Altogether more than 50kgs weight reduction over the road going model.
A 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine with an enhanced lightweight electric motor. These power plants generate 1,000 PS, 789hp produced by the petrol engine and 197hp from the electric motor.
Tuning in development results 10% more downforce than the McLaren p1 road car. The extraordinary exhaust design, the large twin (exhaust) pipes, formed in lightweight materials like Inconel and titanium alloy, are saving in excess of 6.5kgs over the already light going system.
The exclusive McLaren GTR Driver Programme kicks off with test sessions in Silverstone, England, following by the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain and other exciting places around the world. Other details of the individual events at the Mclaren Technology Centre will include an individual race seat fitting, a Human Performance Centre assessment, discussions around the design and livery of each model with Design Director Frank Stephenson and much more. I am pretty sure that this exciting and thrilling programme would make anybody happy! 

Longtail hertitage

At the end of the show, McLaren Test driver Chris Goodwin stepped onto the stage and was speaking very enthusiastically about the main changes of the McLaren P1 GTR production car, also the new features and the inspiring driver experience of the McLaren 675LT, which brings back with the "Longtail" heritage, a breeze of the old glorious racing days. This particular  675LT model, in beautiful "Chicane Grey", was showcasing the McLaren Club Sport pack which is an option and designed for track. It carries a titanium roll hoop with four point harmesses and a fire extinguisher. Also he mentioned that the rare "Longtail" example, the 1997 McLaren F1 GT in dark green, which was precisely placed at the entry of the McLaren stand, beside the McLaren 675LT, brought back old memories about his first ride in this piece of Art.

The famous McLaren F1 GT (1997)

Characteristics of the McLaren 675LT

It will be only offered as a Coupe, priced around £ 259,500 and limited to only 500 units worldwide and will be their fastest, most lightweight and most powerful model. 

V8 Twin Turbo (3799cc), 675PS, dry weight 1,200kg, sprint from 0-100km/h in only 2,9 seconds, top speed of 330km/h

Key attributes inspired by the 1997 McLaren F1 "Longtail" are: a wider front and rear track by 20mm, ensuring optimised stability and handling performance. Lightweight springs front and rear have been stiffened, to improve body control and allow 40% increase in downforce.
Another legacy from the F1 GTR "Longtail" is the (light) weight. The body development of aerodynamic parts like extensive use of carbon fibre for the body panels, lightweight engine, chassis, body structure parts, are saving 100kg in weight, and gives a power-to weight ratio of 549PS per tonne.
Chassis set up and powertrain are bespoke, with a third of overall parts and component modified. More aggressive and unique look, which you can see in various styling details and lines: extended carbon fibre front splitter and door blade, additional cooling holes and twin titanium exhaust pipes.
M838TL, the new code name for the engine, because more than 50% of parts have been changed in the 3.8litre V8 motor to deliever increased levels of power, torque and driveability.
Available in 4 new colours like Silicia White, Delta Red, Napier Green, Chicane Grey, and the classic McLaren Orange.


The first day at the motor show is in general very crowded with journalists and television doing interviews, so I decided to visit the new arrivals by McLaren on the second day. When I stepped on the McLaren stand, which was like climbing up a hill, a slippery white glossy floor and a doorman at the entrance caring for the security of the visitors, I headed to watch the cars, that were presented on rotating pedestals, a little bit dangerous when you are a fashionable woman and wearing blue boots with heels from "Pura Lopez". 

 Yellow, a signal  colour ?

At the stand, I was drawn to one particular car -  a "Silicia White" coloured McLaren 675LT next to the McLaren P1 GTR, completing the row to the grey 675LT model.

In my opinion the yellow-green livery of the McLaren P1 GTR was a very good decision, it looks much more elegant and sporty, and yellow is a very big subject in the fashion circus for 2015. It is great for bringing out the main points like maybe just a single shirt, maybe a jacket, or a dress, but depending on the type of person you are, sometimes it looks great because it is a very strong colour.
Here you can see some pieces I designed some years ago, and it it again IN. Its a 
fabulous material, wool-angora rabbit mix pink,  contrasted by pink overknee heels. 
In my opinion, Yellow always needs a contrast to get that particular sexy and cool touch. However driving a bright yellow car can be all the accessories you need if you want to be noticed, and if you dare to be so bold. You can almost obtain the presence of a true celebrity without actually being a celebrity. From the design side, I am very attracted to the little details, like the small window on the driver's side. It gives the car that 'race car' touch, like many historic cars also had. The new aggressive exhause design with the twin pipes looks more in keeping with the hyper car image, because of the angular shaped design cues. 

The McLaren 675LT

The design of the 675LT model, which is fully track- focused and road-legal is much more impressive than the McLaren 650S, although it is not for the design reasons. From the front the car doesn't have that much of a significant change, maybe just the new designed front bumper with the prominent carbon fibre front splitter that looks a bit more powerful. I am really in love with the rear end, the twin exhaust pipes and the cooling holes give the car an unmistakeable touch of style, something very special; supported by the use of a mix of materials around the exhaust area.
The McLaren 675LT is a fantastic mixture of the understated man, but with a pretty and aggressive look, it has many details that are very fashionable, like material mixes, and those fat exhaust pipes that catch everybody's eye.
Comparing it to the fashion world, material mix and eye- catching details are a very common medium to attract attention for breath-taking collections. So I would suggest a more minimalistic styled outfit to keep the eye-catching details as the main focal point, as it is there for sure you will "fall in love" , at the second glance.

Source: McLaren Press Kit, Photos: Jul Krabetz,  Photography: Hans- Joachim Schmidt

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